Renewable energy strategy could be toothless and delayed, advocates worry

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Final report originally due last fall now slated for later this year

By Kate Porter, CBC News

The City of Ottawa's strategy to shift toward wasting less energy and using more renewable power was due last fall, but now environmental advocates worry concrete steps won't be laid out and funding won't even flow until after the 2018 municipal election.

The renewable energy strategy was made a priority for this term of council back in 2015 and the final report was due to be delivered by late 2016, but has now been pushed back to the end of this year.

On Tuesday, a staff update at the city's environment committee meeting presented residents with a glimpse of what to expect when the "energy evolution" report lands this fall, but Ecology Ottawa foresees more studies, no specific recommendations to change policies and therefore, no budget.

"I'm really worried about this process, and I really hope I'm wrong," Ecology Ottawa executive director Graham Saul told councillors at the meeting

He fears as this four-year council term ends, the issue will be "punted" to after the next municipal election in 2018 and a new crew of councillors.

"There's no sense of urgency," agreed Angela Keller-Herzog, who has spent thousands of dollars to install solar panels on her bed and breakfast.

"As a small business owner, I've done my part and I want the city to do its part."

Delays due to staff reorganization, broad consultation

The delay is partly due to a big staff reorganization and layoffs, said Coun. David Chernushenko, who chairs the environment committee.

The employee who was leading the renewable energy file has been shifted to a different role.

The process is further complicated because the city has been collaborating and holding meetings with some 100 people from dozens of local organizations — from developers and energy companies to school boards and government departments.

For instance, the chief financial officer of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board attended Tuesday's meeting to praise the city for taking the lead

"This really had to be something that involved the city as a whole," said Chernushenko. "The City of Ottawa, the corporation, only consumes about 10 per cent of the energy and therefore emits about 10 per cent of the greenhouse gases of the city as a whole."

Chernushenko promised to push for the renewable energy report this fall to include as many specific recommendations as possible, and to argue that the plan receive money in the 2018 budget, "as tough a challenge as that's going to be."

Open House: Old Ottawa South road renewal

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Wednesday, March 29, 7 – 9 p.m.
Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Ave.

The City of Ottawa is hosting a public information session on road renewal in the northwest portion of Old Ottawa South, where the existing watermain, sanitary sewer and road infrastructure have reached the end of their useful life and need of replacement/upgrading. This open house is an opportunity to review the design, ask questions and provide comment on the proposed works.

The project area is predominantly bounded by Bronson Pl. to the west, Colonel By Dr. to the north, Seneca St. to the east and Sunnyside Ave. to the south. A three-block section along Seneca St. extends south to Grove Ave., and captures a section of Glen Ave. and Grove Ave. near the Brewer Arena.

The affected streets are:

  • Aylmer Ave. (Bronson Pl. to Seneca St.)
  • Carlyle Ave. (Woodbine Pl. to dead end)
  • Colonel By Dr. (parkland, Carlyle Ave. to Fulton Ave.) — remove watermain dead-ends
  • Downing St. (Seneca St. to Carlyle Ave.)
  • Fulton Ave. (Woodbine Pl. to dead end)
  • Glen Ave. (Seneca St. to Grove Ave. N/S)
  • Grove Ave. N/S (Glen Ave. to Grove Ave. E/W) — watermain only
  • Pansy Ave. (Seneca St. to Carlyle Ave.)
  • Seneca St. (Grove Ave. to Colonel By Dr.)
  • Woodbine Pl. (Seneca St. to Carlyle Ave.) — sewer only
  • Woodbine Pl. (Carlyle Ave. to Fulton Ave.) — watermain only

An additional public information session to show the final detailed design is expected next fall. Construction is expected to start in Spring 2018, with completion by Fall 2019.

For more information about this project, please visit ottawa.ca.

Feds give money to cities to prepare for what climate change may bring

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Councillor says Ottawa's share of the $125 million in funding could go towards green city vehicles or retrofitting buildings.

By Ryan Tumilty, Metro

The federal government announced funding Thursday to help municipalities deal with rising flood waters, higher fuel costs and an increased risk of forest fires.

Split between two programs that will both be managed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the $125 million is meant to help municipalities do flood mapping and mitigation and to find ways to reduce green house gas emissions in their fleets.

“By enabling municipalities to plan, build and maintain their infrastructure most strategically, communities will be better positioned to make their infrastructure dollars go further with a lighter environmental footprint,” Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in announcing the funding.

Many Canadian big cities have started work on these kinds of programs, but Sohi said that some are further ahead than others and that this funding will help municipalities match their peers.  

FCM president Clark Somerville said municipalities manage most of the country’s infrastructure and they will have to deal with adapting it to a changing climate.

“They are also on the frontlines of climate change and must cope with increasingly extreme weather from floods to droughts to heavy rains and ice storms.” 

Ottawa Coun. David Chernushenko said there is a lot the city could use this new funding for.

“We’re particularly well placed with, if not detailed plans, than a strong list of priorities,” he said.

He noted the city has a climate-change strategy, with work already underway on renewable energy.

“Nobody wants us to suddenly just make things up because there is money being dangled.”

He said this funding could help move plans for replacing the city’s fleet with greener vehicles or adding more renewable power to buildings.

“Money like this could help to do that earlier and begin reaping those benefits.”

Old Ottawa East Hosers victorious in Councillor's Cup

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Cup2017

The Old Ottawa East Moose, in blue, and the Old Ottawa East Hosers, in green, were the finalists in the 2017 Councillor's Cup hockey tournament, refereed by Councillor David Chernushenko, at centre. Photo by John Dance.

The Old Ottawa East Hosers triumphed in the tenth annual Councillor’s Cup on January 28.

In the final game, the Hosers crushed their archenemies, the Moose of Old Ottawa South, by a score of 8-4 after spotting the Moose a 3-0 lead after just four minutes.

The Hosers have now have won five times, once more than the Moose.

The Hosers had the skill borne of countless hours at Brantwood Park rink.

Hosers

The Hosers, front from left: Natalie Saunders, Susan Redding, Mike Souillière, Kenzie Tobin. Back from left: Cindy Courtemanche, Jacob Bays, Nick Workun, Nathaniel Sneyd-Dewar and Ian White. Photo by John Dance.